Archive for the ‘Senior Moments’ Category

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Dear Ruth

06/11/2011

Ruth lived across the street and up the hill from the first house I ever lived in. She also attended the same church as my family. She was tiny, maybe 5 feet tall. She worked downtown, took the bus and enjoyed UConn basketball games and Whalers hockey. She never let meager means or ailing health hold her back.

Long ago at a church tag sale I purchased some 1940’s pink glasses from Ruth. When Dan and I bought our house a year or so later, Ruth had run across the matching pitcher and gave it to us as a gift. It was so thoughtful. I still only bring the set out for special occasions. To thank Ruth I clipped a bouquet of these roses, placed them in an odd glass that I had and left them for her with a thank you note. She said it was the prettiest bouquet she had ever received.

Ruth has been gone for several years now. The roses were in bloom the other day and looking quite beautiful. Something so simple that made her smile. She never would presume to be remembered but I remember. I remember dear Ruth and her generous heart each time these roses are in bloom. Thank you Ruth!

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Life enters, stage left

03/15/2011

The last week or so has been tumultuous. Obviously on a global scale  in Japan and regions attached to that part of the Pacific but also personally. I assisted in getting 24 hour care for my Aunt (soon to be 90) and my Uncle (in his late 80s). My Uncle has yo yo’d between hospitals, rehab and home with various maladies of age for the last few years. This time the rehab place insisted that he could only go home if he had someone to help 24 hours a day. The issue of concern is random blackouts; only for a minute but unpredictable despite their infrequency. Convincing these private, independent seniors that it was necessary to invest in this care was a battle. Who can them blame them? Yes, there is something worse than being sent to a nursing home. There is losing your independence in your very home. The one you built, decorated and spent 50 years living in.

There was the friend, acquired through an art workshop, who is on week 4 of hospice care. She continues to live despite no food or drink in over a week and incredible pain. The Hospice workers are baffled at her continued existence when medically it should not be. And there is the other art friend, diagnosed with Leukemia in February in week 4 of chemo and drug therapies. Miraculously she went into remission last week and today I have heard that her white blood cells have begun to increase.

There are a few other hospital admissions and illnesses that I won’t go into. It has been a lot to think about and process. Work of any kind seems far away.

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Catalogued

01/26/2011

My family is addicted to catalog shopping. My brother in law says it is genetic. “It’s like you never met a catalog you did not have to look at.”

He has a point. It does not matter if the catalog is for fashion, kitchen gear or even farming tools. We all love to look through them. We have a compulsion to look through them. My nieces and nephews ranging in age from 14 years to 18 months all love to look through them. My niece said to my sister that she “needed to look at one of those books” so she could make her list out for Santa.

At Grandma’s the catalog shopping gets tricky. I picked up a catalog in the pile and skimmed through it. Upon finding something I like I went to make a note of which catalog edition it was from this women’s clothier. It was from 2008.

“Mom, do you want me to put this in the recycling pile for you?”

“No, I am saving it.”

“But it is from 2008.”

“I know but they have colors and styles I like in it.”

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Traveling with Seniors

08/24/2010

My sister and her family rented a cottage in Maine for a few weeks this August. The cottage is owned by a family we have known since my Aunt and Uncle bought the cottage down the street 40 yeas ago. Vacationing in Maine is a tradition that we have kept alive all these years by renting nearby so we can visit with them and not invade, now that we come in packs. It also allows my parents a place to stay and visit with everyone.

We left on a Thursday morning. It was a comfortable day, in the seventies and barely a touch of humidity. My Dad drove the first half of the trip so I sat behind him. As he started the car the air conditioner blew heavily.

“Can we turn that down?” I asked.

My Dad agreed that it was a bit much while my Mom protested. He adjusted the controls and found a happy medium that did not blast us so heavily that my hair blew in the breeze. Mom adjusted her vents and dropped the temperature in her zone. I put my lightweight jacket on. Somewhere around the mid-point of the trip we stopped for lunch and switched drivers. By mid-afternoon we were off the Maine turnpike and headed for the coast a short distance away. The thought occurred to me that it would be cooler here in Maine and it might be nice to get some fresh air, smell the sea breeze with the windows down.

“Can we turn this off now?” I asked, pointing to the AC buttons.

In the flattest tone of shock imaginable came the reply form my Mother, “what?!”

oh well.

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The house of antiquated fans

07/18/2010

Last summer my sister’s family stopped in Connecticut on their way from Chicago to the Maine coast for vacation. My niece, who was 6 at the time, remarked on my parents “antique toilet seat”. It seems she had decided that a wood toilet seat must be an antique toilet seat. We all got a good laugh out of this.

On my nephew’s recent trip to Grandma’s, the heat demanded my sister go up in the attic to get a fan for the guest bedroom. When she turned it on a disk on the front of the fan flew across the room. When she told my Dad about this he said, “oh, I should have warned you about that”.

On further inspection my sister found that other fans in the house all had issues. One no longer goes on low, only medium and high. The one in the den where my parents spend most of their time seems mechanically ok. It is just too small for the room. Considering that these all date back to the 70’s I guess we should be happy that they work at all. I asked if I could get them a new one and they insist they do not need one. Antique fans and antique toilet seats, go figure!

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Driving By

07/08/2010

We all piled into the car last Sunday and took my nephew to camp. It takes 4 adults to take one 10 year old to camp one hour away from his Grandparents home. We left almost 2 hours early. When it was clear that we were not going to run into traffic (duh) a quick decision was made to stop and eat lunch. Of course this was after my sister had made my nephew eat the sandwich she had packed for him. You may have noticed, food is a priority for my family.

We had a nice meal and climbed back into the car. My parents were in the front and every few minutes or so we would hear, “Oh that is still there“, “Oh that went out. That is too bad.” We would all look to catch a glimpse of the store front that still stood in the determined status as we continued on our journey. Looking back I don’t know what surprised us more, that a business was still open some 30 odd years later or that it had closed. It was like we were expecting these places to survive our once every 3 decades drive by. I am not even sure how many of these places we had ever even been in.

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The elasticity of my memory

07/03/2010

has snapped. I just don’t remember things as well as I used to.

Thank goodness my brain works visually!